Eight in 10 international students who studied in a local polytechnic or university on tuition grants awarded by the Ministry of Education (MOE) either serve their bonds and start work immediately, or have applied to the ministry for deferment, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat told Parliament on Friday.
All international students who receive tuition grants from MOE are required to work in Singapore-based companies for three years after they graduate, to supplement the local labour force and contribute to the economy.
But this does not mean that the remaining 20 per cent are bond defaulters, said Mr Heng, replying to a question by Hougang MP Png Eng Huat who asked for the amount of tuition grants given to students who have defaulted on their agreement.
"Some did not start work immediately upon graduation as they have gone overseas for further studies, but did not seek deferment approval, some are in the midst of seeking deferment approval, and some are still seeking employment," said Mr Heng.
He added that MOE is "enhancing efforts" to track down tuition grant recipients who have not yet started work after they graduate, but figures are unavailable as yet.
International students who have defaulted on their service obligations will have to compensate the ministry, Mr Heng said. "Their status as bond defaulters will be taken into consideration should they subsequently apply to work or reside in Singapore," he said.